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Dynamics 365 Cloud Migration: Rebuild or Lift-and-Shift?

Dynamics 365 / CRM

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Ready to up your CRM game? With a jump from Dynamics 365 CE on-premise to online, you’re in the perfect spot to make meaningful changes.

Here’s where it gets exciting—do you migrate everything (lift-and-shift) or aim higher by conducting an audit and then rebuilding configurations?

We’ve done plenty of projects using both approaches, but some benefits make the higher cost of a rebuild worth considering. Let’s take a look at those together.

6 Benefits of Rebuilding Dynamics 365 Instead of Migrating

1. Cleaner Data

Lift-and-shift means everything comes over as-is, no matter the data’s shape.

Clean data is essential to a successful implementation, and taking the time to evaluate and clean up data saves considerable time (and user headaches) down the line!

In one case, we invested more time ironing out data issues after going live than it would have required to address them during the migration process.

Some issues lingered months later and negatively impacted the user experience—all avoidable had they been resolved before going live.

2. Missed Opportunity for Innovation

Strong adoption can result in lower innovation if you don’t pause to evaluate new capabilities.

Some teams we’ve worked with are heavy users of CRM, and while that’s great, they tend to look for “as we do it today” functionality because they can’t imagine another way.

A rebuild with a regular cadence of “build—check—tweak—check—rollout” maintains what’s working while allowing C5 Insight (C5) and the client to pressure test new, innovative processes to support business flow.

3. Close Knowledge Gaps

Every team user has different experience levels with CRM, and some user experience changes can be subtle but critical.

That said, it pressures those tasked with training others to know their users, the product, and the differences between the old and new processes!

It’s easy to miss critical features with assumptions based on misunderstood functions and changes regarding user workflow or experience.

To ensure faster onboarding times and better productivity among team members, make sure you plan ahead thoroughly while keeping an eye out for differences in learning levels across your trainees.

4. Ready. Fire. Aim. Fail.

After an initial lift-and-shift project, most organizations want to move into adding new features.

They may build this on top of data or configurations that don’t fully support the new capabilities, or plan quickly (like they moved through the migration) and miss important details.

This forces these organizations to create workarounds for subtle unknown process details until users test the new features.

Using the “ready, fire, aim” approach doesn’t work well when it results in users consistently struggling through functionality that is overly complex, doesn’t align with their process, or fails to work because of back-end issues.

5. Low-Code, No-Code, Missing-Code!

Dynamics 365 CE is an excellent solution by allowing you to add great features with little or no code. However, almost every instance requires some code to provide a specific function unique to each business.

Unless you follow code management best practices, you may have lost track of the exact code function and its impact on customer database records. Some things may have been around so long that users think it’s out-of-the-box functionality.

The more customizations you have (tables, JavaScript, plugins, etc.), the more challenging it can be to catalog and fully understand them. You may successfully lift-and-shift, but as soon as you start to make changes, you may experience issues you could never anticipate.

6. Corrupt Infrastructure

One client approached us with an already-completed migration; unfortunately, while they were on-premise, some unsupported changes were made.

When these changes were migrated to the cloud, they caused issues that even Microsoft’s engineers couldn’t resolve.

The solution? They had to rebuild their configuration and re-migrate again, doubling its time and cost and causing headaches for the user and IT teams.

We’ve also run into well-known third-party solution add-ons that are nearly impossible to uninstall completely.

Migration is an ideal time to re-create your environment without these so you can start with fresh and more easily maintained Dynamics 365 apps.

C5 Insight’s Recommended Dynamics 365 Cloud Migration Strategy

Rebuilding your CRM customizations during migration isn’t always necessary, but a thorough planning process is a must.

Take the time to audit your existing CRM, evaluate the data, understand the configurations, and determine how these will change in the online version. Then decide lift-and-shift vs. rebuild-then-migrate data only.

This is also an excellent opportunity to re-imagine your CRM. Take the time to build a roadmap for the next 18-36 months and take advantage of new features without forcing a steep learning curve on your users.

Call 704-895-2500 or reach out through our contact page. We’d love to discuss your plans and share our expertise with you!

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